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Exponent acquires UK media firm for £82m

London-based private equity firm Exponent Private Equity has made its second investment with the purchase of Durrants Media Monitoring.

UK-based lower mid-market firm August Equity, formerly known as Kleinwort Capital, has sold portfolio company Discovery Group, which trades as Durrants Media Monitoring, to Exponent Private Equity for £82 million (€119 million; $142 million).
 
August Equity originally backed Durrants chief executive Stephen White in a £14 million management buy-in in 2000. The exit represents a cash multiple of 6x cash invested for August Equity.
 
Durrants is the first transaction August Equity has carried out since re-branding from Kleinwort Capital earlier this month, following the exit of cornerstone investor Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.
 
The transaction is Exponent Private Equity’s second deal since closing its maiden private equity fund, Exponent Private Equity Partners, on £400 million in 2004. Last October, the firm, founded by former 3i executives Tom Sweet-Escott, Richard Campin, Hugh Richards and Chris Graham, purchased business-to-business publisher TSL Education for £235 million.
 
In 2001, August Equity helped Durrants raise £2.5 million to fund the development of its main technology platform, enabling clients to receive information in digital form. In 2004, the company acquired the news division of Xtreme Information Services, a global advertising monitoring and information company backed by US investor Veronis Suhler Stevenson, in a £7 million deal.
 
Founded in 1880, Durrants is a media monitoring and evaluation agency, providing services to public relations professional managers, corporate organisations and government bodies. The business monitors around 6,000 print, broadcast and online sources to service 2,300 clients.
 
According to August Equity, Durrants has current revenues of over £20 million and has seen its profits increase almost six-fold since the MBI.